late July, we decided that we couldn’t stand being away from our boat
for so long so we went down to La Paz for a visit. Because we are
feeling poor, we flew to San Diego ($39 each way), took the trolley to
the Mexican border, then took a bus from there to La Paz. The bus was
great, clean and modern with air conditioning, movies and a bathroom. It
was a 22 hour trip though and we were very happy when we arrived. The
boat was in perfect shape, no bugs, rats or storm damage but it was in
desperate need of a wash down.
had mail for Dennis and Judith from “JAD”
and had arranged to meet up with Judith in La Paz. Their boat is in
Puerto Escondido which is about 200 miles North, so Judith took a bus to
La Paz as well. Judith invited us to spend the balance of our long
weekend on their boat. We were very excited about her offer as we had
never been to Puerto Escondido and we really wanted to visit with Dennis
and Kathie and Jamie from “White
Squall” who were also there. Besides “Day
Dream” is in a marina in a city and we really prefer to be at
anchor away from the cities.
Judith, Susan and I took a bus up to Puerto Escondido (only five hours).
The bus just stopped on the side of the highway near the bay and let us
out, then we walked the mile or so to the water. We had a terrific time
on “JAD” as their
hospitality was incredible. It was really good to see our old friends
again and besides those that we were expecting, we also ran into Carol
and Greg from “Vagrant Lady”.
We had last seen them just before Christmas in Cabo San Lucas.
was an extremely short trip but we managed to cram a totally great time
into only two days. While we were there we went diving for clams. Susan
and I had not done this before and we really enjoyed it. They weren’t
hard to get and after being steamed for a few minutes they are delicious
with garlic butter. Dennis and I attempted to harvest fruit from a
cactus. Speaking from experience, I am now strongly recommending that
you do not try to harvest a cactus while wearing a bathing suit! These
cactus are about 10 feet tall and have spines about 3 inches long. The
fruit always grow just out of reach and are also very spiny. We poked at
them with sticks and after nearly falling onto the cactus many times we
would knock one off. They usually come hurtling down from overhead aimed
straight at any bare skin that you happen to have. No one was critically
injured during this operation and eventually we had ten or so, which we
thought would make a nice dessert for the six of us. Each fruit was
about the size of a large strawberry and liberally supplied with spines.
Once back on the boat I got roped into removing the spines. I held the
fruit on a fork and hacked at them with a knife and after losing about
half of the fruit overboard I had spread most of the spines around “JAD’s” deck. After all of that we forgot to eat them before we
left so we still don’t know if they were any good!
did have a good reason for forgetting and that was the rest of the food.
If you haven’t eaten lately, you had better put this down and go have
a bite, otherwise you are likely to find yourself at an expensive
seafood restaurant ordering something that you can’t afford. Judith
and Kathie are very good cooks and Dennis and Jamie are very
accomplished fishermen. Dennis and Jamie had recently caught some
lobsters while diving. The lobster, combined with a recent catch of
scallops and three different kinds of clams to make this really
incredible pasta dish. Some of our other culinary delights while
visiting were steamed clams on the half shell with garlic butter,
Judith’s pickled squid, Judith’s pickled veggies and a fresh salad!
Easily some of the best meals we’ve ever eaten.
were very sad to leave when the time came but knowing that we would be
back in October helped a little. We arrived at the bus station in Loreto
to purchase our tickets and found that our bus was full. We explained in
our best Spanish how badly we needed on this bus in order to meet our
flight in San Diego. Between the bus drivers, the ticket agents and a
few passengers, they found us one seat to start with and agreed to let
me stand for the first 100 miles. In typical Mexican fashion, when the
time came to board they somehow found us both seats. And then to top it
all off, a kind gentleman travelling alone traded seats with Susan so
that we could sit together even though he was giving up a much better
seat. Once again Mexico shows off its great people charm.
the middle of the night, the police boarded the bus checking for
criminals. Not having shaved for four or five days apparently made me
look fairly suspicious. Naturally they asked for my tourist visa which I
had failed to get stamped in Tijuana and then hauled me (politely) off
the bus for a little questioning. Fortunately, Susan, who didn’t have
a stamped visa either realised that she would tend to make me look less
sinister so she hopped off the bus as well and we apologised profusely
for being such silly gringos. Finally they told us that they were
supposed to charge us but if we promised not to do it again they would
let us go. We earnestly promised and that was that! I hate to imagine
what would have happened if a foreigners paperwork were not in order in
Canada or the USA.
shaving and changing into clean clothes, we made it through U.S. customs
(whew). Considering our last U.S. immigration experience we were a
little nervous but it was no problem. Since we had a few hours to spare,
we went to visit some friends who run a yacht equipment shop in San
Diego. While we were there we bumped into Chris and Susan from the yacht
“Jenny Gordon”. We had met them in Zihuatanejo and had last seen
them at Didi and Allen’s wedding. They had left their boat at anchor
in Puerto Escondido and were planning to spend a few months visiting
family and travelling through Canada and the U.S. Small world!
hurricane season in Mexico now and we have been worrying a fair bit
about “Day Dream”. We get
the NOAA weather broadcast on our shortwave radio and so far we have had
three near misses. The first, hurricane Flossy, passed about 110 miles
from La Paz. This put us just outside of the danger zone but since you
never know in advance exactly where they are going to go, we had a few
sleepless nights. The second, Hurricane Henriette, was forecast to pass
within 15 miles of La Paz with 110 mph winds. We decided that we
couldn’t leave the boat alone at such a time, so I flew down to make
sure it was OK. As it turned out, Henriette turned left and we never had
more that 45 knots (about 55 mph) of wind but I was very happy to be
there. Henriette did hit Cabo San Lucas squarely and the last I heard
there was no water, telephones or electricity there, but no one had been
killed. The most recent scare has been Hurricane Ismael which whizzed by
our boat on the east side, straight up into the Sea of Cortez. Once
again it was close. We’re growing more gray hairs by the day.
that seems like all the news that’s fit to print. We are leaving here
on September 26th and looking forward to being back on the boat. We will
drive to San Diego and do a little last minute boat shopping for us and
some friends since we have a car to fill. Then it’s a few more days of
driving down the Baja Peninsula to La Paz. We can hardly wait. We’ve
missed the cruising life.